Holidays are all about making memories. In Torremolinos, on the Costa Del Sol in southern Spain, our memories are now about sunny, warm days, gay beaches and bars, hot Spanish men, good food and casual Spanish beachside towns. There are also large open plazas, fountains, colourful local festivals, street music and Torremolinos has it own bull fighting ring, just behind the town hall.
We arrived in mid September. Almost perfect timing with most gay venues operating and the beaches not too crowded. The temperature was around 28 degrees each day. The only issue, to our great surprise, was the cool temperature of the sea water. This lively Spanish getaway is in the part of the world where the Atlantic Ocean mixes with the Mediterranean, creating some raised eyebrows and shrieks of astonishment. The months of June, July and August may be better, when Torremolinos is packed with attractive men, the weather is very hot and the water is perfect for swimming.
Torremolinos is a ten minute drive south of Malaga. It sits snugly between the mountains and the beach, giving it a tropical climate for most of the year. The town is perched above the beach and most people access the sea front using the public ‘acsensors’ (lifts). Along the very long sandy beach (playa) there are a huge range of hotels, shops and eating places and thousands of sun beds and umbrellas dominate the beach foreshore. One of the delights of walking along the promenade is the smell of sardines being cooked over open olive wood fires in makeshift barbecues made out of old wooden fishing boats which sit outside the restaurants. ‘Espteo de sardines’ (grilled sardines on a skewer) are very popular and a delicacy of the area.
Most gay men head straight for El Gato Beach which is at the southern end of the strip. Here you will find a loyal and more mature crowd, as it has been the gay beach area for around the last 10 years. Sun lounges and a thatched umbrella can be hired for 4€ per person. Towards the back of the sun lounges is a very popular masseur (Edouardo) who works his magic for 35€ an hour. Couples can opt for a half hour each for the same price, so nobody feels left out.
Across the road is the El Gato Lounge bar. It is busy during the day and is a mecca for the gay crowd at night. The food is excellent and many of the tapas are served with an Asian twist. One evening we had the innovative tapas box. All 12 tapas came at once, served on a box stand so you can see all the choices and devour each delicious morsel in whatever order you choose. Owners Jeff and Peter made us feel very welcome and El Gato is rated as one of the most popular restaurants in Torremolinos.
Right next door to El Gato Beach is Eden Beach Club. This is where the trendier and younger guys hang out with their iPhones, using the free wifi. You might hear English spoken here, but it’s more likely that you’ll hear Spanish, and even more likely that the guys next to you will be speaking Dutch, Italian or French. All day the popular music is pumped out and as the last of the day’s rays linger across the beach, the sun lounges all magically line up facing west to take full advantage of the late afternoon setting sun. Also in the late afternoons, a hunky group of local, hot and sweaty guys play beach volleyball. On Sundays, during most of the summer, Eden Beach Club hosts a popular T-dance and regular drag shows.
Eating and Drinking
In the evening in Torremolinos there is the full range of restaurants to choose from: Spanish, Italian, Indian, Chinese and many more. These can be found along the beach front and up in the town. We mostly ate up in the town centre and we can highly recommend Calendula where we had outstanding tapas. The warm cheese with foie gras and roasted duck with blueberry sauce and baby green peppers were superb. At La Piazzetta (Italian) we had the home made ravioli stuffed with sea bass and prawns which was sensational. Both these places can be found in the charming old Pueblo Blanco, with its ornate central fountain. This plaza is a gem of a place at night and you should make the effort to find it. Don’t miss having a drink at Boomerang Bar in the Plaza. Gillian the owner is gorgeous and nuts about Australia. She is the perfect host and has made her bar very popular with both gay locals and tourists alike. You can also find Rene’s bar nearby, specialising in cocktails of every variety.
La Nogalera Bars
The late night bars, clubs and sauna are found in La Nogalera more or less in the centre of town. All the bars open around 11:00pm and party time is until at least five in the morning. There are all kinds of bars and clubs around here and Friday and Saturday nights seem the busiest as there are many local guys who come into town from Malaga. (See http://www.gaytorremolinos.eu for the latest information)
Our favourite bar here was Codigo Music Bar. The barmen were very cute and friendly, as were many of the guys having a drink. For an early drink try Chessa Bar. It’s small and cosy but has outside seating and Peter, the bar owner, makes everyone feel very at home. Contacto Bar is reportedly the oldest gay bar in town and Alex, the stunning barman, is a must see. It often has cabaret and drag nights and 80s discos. For our furry friends, there is a Bears Bar, XXL and Men’s, a late night cruise bar. Just remember, things don’t get started here much before about 2am.
We visited Utopia, a new sauna that opened in August 2013. The entry fee was 15€. The sauna can be found across the street from the bars in La Nogalera. On the first floor there is a sun deck and large open terrace. No nude sun bathing here as there are too many neighbours with a free view. Unfortunately, when we visited, the Gaudi-inspired pool was closed for maintenance but all say it is beautiful when working. Utopia sauna is ultra clean with hundreds of lockers, a steam room and dry sauna and a very large jacuzzi. It also has a small cruise area and private cabins. The bar and cafe overlook the terrace. On the afternoon we were there it was quiet and so we took advantage of this to have a massage. Pedro and Assin, our masseurs, were fantastic (hot and sweaty) and well worth the 40€ for the hour. Feeling very relaxed we had a drink at the cafe before moving on for an afternoon nap in preparation for the evening events.
If you want to extend your European vacation into the late summer months, Torremolinos is a fantastic gay destination and we are thankful for the magic memories our recent visit has provided.